An offensive lineman might be the most underappreciated position in sports. They don’t get the glam or recognition of the offensive skill position players, nor do they put up the stats. Northern Illinois is set to change that, as they have one of the best O-lines in college football. And they have one of the countries best lineman as well.
Without any debate, Max Scharping is one of the premier collegiate players in all of the Nation. Standing 6’6 and weighing an impressive 312 lbs, he’s an intimidating presence for any defensive opponent.
An All-MAC selection a year ago, Scharping now turns his attention to 2017, where he will not only look to capture a spot as an All-American, but lead the Huskies to prominence in the MAC Conference.
Last season, Northern Illinois formed one of the best O-lines in the FBS, giving up just 8 sacks all season. Yes, only 8 sacks all season! Imagine that in today’s collegiate game. With Northern Illiinos retaining both Scharping and All-American Center, Luke Shively, the chance at repeating last year’s success is extremely likely.
Of course the loss of two starters from the offensive line won’t help things, but Scharping believes with his leadership and teaching from past players, replacing what was lost shouldn’t be as hard as some might think. I spoke with Scharping at MAC Media Day regarding his role as a leader, and how the 2017 offensive line can repeat the success of 2016.
“It falls one me a little bit because I am the most experienced. The guys we have that are going to play, and are coming in, they’ve experienced the past lines as well. They’ve already been learning from the guys I’ve learned from. I just have to establish that same culture, that same mentality as everyone else.”
Scharping would go on to add,
“It’s mostly a group effort. That’s how the offensive line is. It’s all about the group. It’s not about me.”
For a team that returns 3 starters from the best O-line in the FBS, it would appear the group is still extremely strong. Between Scharping and the tutelage of former members of the line, the newcomers will be ready to take on the responsibilities that comes with playing at Northern Illinois.
No matter what happens for the Huskies this season, you can bet the offensive line will once again prove they are the elite of college football. And Max Scharping will make sure of that.